Travel News: December 26, 2016

Bangkok city sunset

All three of ANA’s ‘Star Wars’ jets are now flying paying passengers
USA Today

All Nippon Airways (ANA) put the last of its three Star Wars-themed jets into commercial service this week.

The Boeing 777, painted in the likeness of the Stars Wars droid BB-8, flew from Osaka to Tokyo on Monday and then continued on to Los Angeles. The plane will fly between Tokyo Haneda and Los Angeles through April 8. After that, ANA will shift the BB-8 aircraft to Tokyo Narita, where the jet is scheduled to alternate on routes to Chicago O’Hare, Houston Bush Intercontinental, New York JFK, Singapore and Washington Dulles.


Fathom’s Dominican Republic cruises to add Cuba call
Travel Weekly

Fathom, Carnival Corp.’s social-impact cruise line, has been given permission to visit Cuba on cruises scheduled to go to the Dominican Republic.

Fathom will offer a port call in Santiago de Cuba, on the island’s southeast coast, on six cruises next year that primarily go to Amber Cove, Carnival’s port in the Dominican Republic.

The seven-day cruises will take place during the weeks of February 26, March 12 and 26, April 9 and 23, and May 7. Prices start at $599 per person.


Uber Redesigns Include Custom Snapchat Filters and Charting to Meet up with Friends

After a recent redesign of its app, Uber decided to push the envelope on personalization. There are now two features involved with the app including an integration with Snapchat and the “ability to select people you want to meet, not just places you want to go,” according to Venture Beat.

Uber wanted to bring in these additional features to make sure you get more out of your Uber experience rather than simply sitting there and being driven from Point A to Point B.


Surge in tourists puts some strain on Thailand’s infrastructure

Thailand’s success in attracting huge numbers of tourists has put some infrastructure for handling the influx under pressure, an economist with the World Bank said on Monday.

The industry has remained resilient despite a 2014 coup and a wave of deadly bombings in August this year that killed four Thai tourists and injured dozens, including foreigners.

Last year, Thailand attracted a record 29.9 million visitors. The tourism ministry expects 32.4 million visitors this year while the tourism council says there could be 34.4 million in 2017.

But tourism growth is putting airports and other aspects of infrastructure under strain. Infrastructure is a problem not just for tourism – a rare bright spot for the economy – but for growth in general.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

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